People in Walsall are being urged to be on the look-out for a pair of distraction thieves following a number of burglaries this week.
Officers are investigating the reports, which all took place between 12.30pm and 1.30pm on Monday, 11 August.
A man in his 80s from Ford Brook Lane, Pelsall, arrived home from the shops to find a man on his driveway saying he owed him Â£300 for work carried out to some tree roots. The elderly man went inside to get the cash and then went out to inspect the roots, leaving the man alone in the house. After the â€˜workmanâ€™ had left, the pensioner realised Â£3,000 had been stolen from a tin in his bedroom.
A woman in her 50s, living on Little London, Caldmore, was at home when two men – claiming to be from the council – arrived saying they had received complaints about her garden. They asked to come inside to plug in some electrical equipment, before stealing Â£340 from her wardrobe.
“Weâ€™re connecting these two distraction burglaries to another report from a resident on Bakewell Close, Little Bloxwich,” said Detective Constable Jenny Aston from Bloxwich Police Station.
She added: “Thankfully, nothing was stolen from that address, but it did involve two men arriving at the property and demanding cash for carrying out work to tree roots.
“We are linking all three incidents and believe they were carried out by the same offenders, who are described as two white men in their 40s in a small box van. One is described as being at least 6ft tall and wearing a baseball cap.
“Weâ€™d urge people to keep an eye out for these men and not to let any unannounced callers into their homes âˆ’ especially if they canâ€™t show you any identification.
“People should also avoid keeping large quantities of cash in their homes.”
Anyone with information about the Walsall burglaries is urged to call police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
If someone unexpectedly calls at your door, the advice is:
â€¢ Check to see who it is by using the spy hole if you have one, or look through a front window.
â€¢ Always put the chain on before you open the door. Door chains are available from most DIY stores and high street outlets for as little as Â£2.
â€¢ If you donâ€™t know the caller, ask to see their identity card. Check it carefully, and keep the chain on while you do this. Genuine callers wonâ€™t mind if you close the door while you check. If in doubt, telephone the organisation to verify they are genuine by using a number from the telephone directory and not a number given to you by the caller.
â€¢ Bogus callers sometimes work in pairs. Beware of one distracting you while the other steals your property. The best practice is not to let them in.
â€¢ Always make sure any rear or side access doors are locked before opening the front door.
â€¢ If in doubt, keep them out. Phone the police if you are worried on 101 and in an emergency dial 999